When Tim asked me to contribute to his blog, he suggested I write about some of the things I have learned studying Edwards. This will take several posts, but I’ll try to simplify. Please keep in mind that it will take the rest of my life to understand all Edwards wrote! But this is a good start and I believe it’s helpful for apologetics.
Edwards lived in a time when the revolutionary scientific and philosophical thought of the Enlightenment was having an immense impact upon Christendom. Being well-read, he found the writings of Locke and Newton exhilarating, but he disagreed with the conclusions they drew. He agreed there was a unifying worldview, but he believed it was a God-centered one, not one of human reasoning.
The Rationalist view believed universal truths of reason and morality should be the standards by which Scripture is interpreted. Edward’s philosophy always started with his theology. His opponents’ logic began with principles of human morality and psychology and then inferred from that what God’s moral government of the universe must be like. Edwards began with what God is like. He wished to prove that what Enlightenment proponents “took to be the sun was only a dimly reflected light”.